How Luuka District is Coping With the Lockdown to Deliver MNCH Services

DHO Luuka District, Dr. Wandira chairs a debrief DHT meeting with COMONETH team at his office after field work

Support supervision for health services provision is part of the routine activities within the health systems strengthening to ensure effective and efficient health services delivery. The story has been different however during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Uganda, the first COVID-19 case was registered on the 21st march 2020, and since then, several rapid response interventions have been put in place to try and combat its spread. One of the restrictive measures put in place is the lockdown that has had several extensions since its inception catalyzed by the increased new cases especially from truck drivers discovered at the boarder points of the country.

The lockdown has had negative effects on an already struggling health system by creating physical barriers to access to health care facilities, in addition to the biting poverty and other contributors to poor health outcomes especially in regards to the three delays to health care services. The only window of opportunity that exists in the district however is that the health departments of districts by the leadership of the District health Officers have an oversight role of  ensuring that those in need to health care services are supported to access them. Yet this has been misinterpreted by the general public to think that health facilities have been closed.

We therefore focused on identifying to identify the challenges in the provision of health care services in the district of Luuka in the face of COVID-19 Lockdown.

Communities in which Mothers and Newborns Thrive (COMONETH) through integrating COVID-19 into maternal Newborn and Child health with support from Makerere University school of public health under the leadership of Associate Professor Waiswa Peter and Elizabeth Ekirapa.

The project has built the capacity of the district health team through training on updates in maternal and newborn, hands-on mentorship and coaching in care for mothers and new born, as well as optimal delivery of routine care services like immunization, reproductive health, the health management and information system of timely data capture, as well as logistics and chain management of drugs and supplies for the health facility arm. Support to village health teams to conduct home visits for health education on antenatal care, health facility delivery and care after birth in the postnatal period has been an area of focus in the face of COVID-19.

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